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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 May;70(5):3122-9.

Isolation, characterization, and in situ detection of a novel chemolithoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacterium in wastewater biofilms growing under microaerophilic conditions.

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Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan.


We successfully isolated a novel aerobic chemolithotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacterium, designated strain SO07, from wastewater biofilms growing under microaerophilic conditions. For isolation, the use of elemental sulfur (S(0)), which is the most abundant sulfur pool in the wastewater biofilms, as the electron donor was an effective measure to establish an enrichment culture of strain SO07 and further isolation. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that newly isolated strain SO07 was affiliated with members of the genus Halothiobacillus, but it was only distantly related to previously isolated species (89% identity). Strain SO07 oxidized elemental sulfur, thiosulfate, and sulfide to sulfate under oxic conditions. Strain SO07 could not grow on nitrate. Organic carbons, including acetate, propionate, and formate, could not serve as carbon and energy sources. Unlike other aerobic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, this bacterium was sensitive to NaCl; growth in medium containing more than 150 mM was negligible. In situ hybridization combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that a number of rod-shaped cells hybridized with a probe specific for strain SO07 were mainly present in the oxic biofilm strata (ca. 0 to 100 micro m) and that they often coexisted with sulfate-reducing bacteria in this zone. These results demonstrated that strain SO07 was one of the important sulfur-oxidizing populations involved in the sulfur cycle occurring in the wastewater biofilm and was primarily responsible for the oxidation of H(2)S and S(0) to SO(4)(2-) under oxic conditions.

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